I’m a huge believer that homeschooling can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. That being said, with four young kids, a laminator was a great investment for our family. As you’ll see in the following list, we bought the cheapest home laminator on the market and it has served us well for years. I firmly believe it’s the best laminator for homeschool, but there are other great options depending on your needs. Let’s discuss!
Do I Need a Laminator to Homeschool?
While I definitely don’t think a laminator is an absolute necessity, I definitely think it makes my homeschool life easier.
Especially while we’re in these younger years.
I’ve previously tried using sheet protectors instead because I drastically over estimated what laminating machines cost.
When I finally checked Amazon and saw that there were laminators with 5 star reviews that we could afford on our tiny budget, I ordered one and never looked back!
What Can You Do with a Laminator Machine – Homeschool Uses
The thing that finally sold me on getting a laminator is this –
We have multiple kids that will be using the same curriculum again and again.
It makes it far more economical for me to laminate worksheets and use them year after year rather than print hundreds or even thousands of pages year after year.
I don’t want to make it sound like I laminate my entire curriculum.
I DEFINITELY DON’T.
What I do laminate though are the worksheets that I know we’ll use again and again or flashcards.
It’s also really easy to make a fun game out of an otherwise boring project just by laminating a few sheets and turning it into an outdoor scavenger hunt or picnic activity.
My goal in homeschooling my littles is to never extinguish their curiosity or fire for learning.
Sometimes having a nicely laminated little dry erase project helps me do that.
Other times, the nicely laminated sheets help keep me from losing my mind when my two year old gets a hold of a packet I spent hours putting together.
You get the picture.
Yeah, you can homeschool without a laminating machine, but why would you want to??
Best Laminators for Homeschool Use
I’ll start out with my number one pick of the list. I’ve owned the Apache AL9 laminator for almost 2 years and brag about it at least weekly.
It keeps up with the constant laminating that comes with homeschooling four little kids.
The Apache AL9 accepts 3 and 5 mil laminator pouches.
What I love about it:
- It heats up incredibly fast. I stuff my laminating sheets while I wait and usually only get a few ready before the green “ready” light comes on.
- It’s as small as can be. I keep this in a tiny drawer under my printer and have lost it on more than one occasion.
- In the time I’ve owned this machine, it hasn’t jammed. Not once.
- It has 4.5 stars on Amazon – reassurance that I’m not the only mama that loves it!
The only con I have found is that it can sometimes warp the thinner, 3 mil laminating sheets.
We use our laminated pages for dry erase quite a bit, so I only buy 5 mil sheets and have avoided experiencing this problem again.
We’re going to get to some laminating machines that are made for heavy duty use, but in my humble (cheap?) opinion, this is a great beginning laminator for any homeschool mom.
Amazon Basics Laminator
Sticking close to the $20 price point, the Amazon Basics laminator offers a few more options than the Apache and has 4.5 stars on Amazon.
This machine also handles 3 and 5 mil laminating sheets, but unlike the Apache it comes with 2 heat settings – to avoid the warping I experienced with my beloved Apache.
The Amazon Basics model heats up in just 4 minutes!
It also has a jam release lever should a jam ever occur. This might be the tipping point for me to purchase this one should I ever need a new laminator.
The Scotch Thermal Laminator is the highest rated laminator on this list with 5 stars and more than 38,000 (!!!) reviews.
It’s another unassuming option that produces consistent, beautiful results.
The Scotch Thermal model can also laminate sheets up to 5 mil in thickness, plus it has two heat settings.
This is the laminating machine most raved about in homeschool Facebook groups I’m in.
It seems everyone owns one and is happy to rave about it!
Honestly the only reason I chose a different model was because the Apache was just a few dollars cheaper with similar reviews.
Best Cold Laminator
Buyounger 4 in 1 Thermal and Cold Laminator Machine
This Buyounger 4 in 1 laminator is the first on our list with a cold function.
If you are often laminating items that may be damaged by high heat, such a photos, this laminating machine is a great option.
Just note that if you do decide to use the cold function, it will require self-adhesive cold seal pouches, so be sure to have some on hand!
Currently priced at under $40, this machine comes with a paper cutter and a rounded edge trimmer.
For the price, you get a ton of bang for your buck in the way of higher end functions.
Best Laminator Under 50
The Simple Living Mommy award for best laminator under $50 is the Merece laminator.
This one has all the bells and whistles and is currently priced WELL under $50!
What I love about it:
- The price!
- It comes with a paper trimmer and corner rounder
- Has hot and cold functions (just don’t forget your self adhesive sheets for the cold function)
- Can be used for slightly thicker paper weights as well as photos
Best 10 mil laminator
If you need a laminator that can handle 10 mil laminating sheets, the Fellowes Jupiter is one of the best on the market.
It is by far and away the highest priced item on this list, but for 10 mil capacity, you have to be willing to pay significantly more.
I honestly think that for most homeschool uses, a far more budget-friendly option will more than suffice, but if you are interested in making nice thick workbook covers or report covers – this is the laminator for you.
Best Laminator for Crafts
If you do a ton of crafts in your homeschooling and need a way to laminate (or make stickers, magnets, etc), the Xyron Creative Station Lite deserves a look.
While most reviewers note that there is a learning curve with the machine, most are amazed at its capabilities.
While you can make flashcards and reusable dry erase sheets with the Xyron Creative Station, you can also make thicker crafts like cardstock and stickers.
I have not a crafty bone in my body, so while I don’t have a need for one of these, it seems to be a highly reviewed item for the creative homeschool mama.
So what do you think? Do you need a laminator in your life? Which one of these sounds like the best fit? If you have a different laminator that you love – let me know so I can add it to the list!